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Little Elden Trail #69, AZ

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Guide 31 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
2.7 of 5 by 15
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 4.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,998 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Avg Time One Way 2+ hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.7
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2018-09-15
Little Bear Loop
5  2018-05-04
Sunset Trail #23 - Flagstaff
8  2018-04-25 azbackpackr
5  2018-04-23
Sandy Seep Trail #129
24  2017-09-23
Little Eden Loop
10  2017-08-19
Dry Lake Hills Loop
15  2017-08-19
Dry Lake Hills Loop
6  2017-08-19
Dry Lake Hills Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:24pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby

Likely In-Season!

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Coconino FS Details
The Little Elden Trail begins within the boundaries of the City of Flagstaff, then leads the user into the heart of the Peaks trail system, at Schultz Tank. From this point you can connect to the Dry Lake Hills/Mt. Elden trails to the south, or the Kachina Peaks Wilderness trail system to the north.

The Little Elden Trail winds along the north side of Little Elden Mountain through stands of gamble oak and Ponderosa pine.

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
Little Elden Trail #69
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Hiked another tiny segment of the Arizona Trail, several miles on Passage 32. This goes through the landscape impacted by the 2010 Schultz Fire. Slow regeneration in this dry climate.

This area has one of the worst mistletoe infestations I've seen in a while. This affects only the Ponderosa Pine here, as far as I know.

I walked back via the road after stopping to see Schultz Tank. Very low, as one would expect.

However, despite all these complaints, it was a very pretty hike.

Currant bushes are blooming.
Little Elden Trail #69
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Well, here's a fraction of AZT #32 completed! At this rate it'll take me about 4 or 5 dayhikes to finish one passage! It was a nice hike, some of it new to me, as I had previously always turned up the Heart Trail.

I took the short side trail to see Little Elden Spring. Yuck! Well, at least there is water, but it's a skanky pool. Below it, on the other side of a boulder is a slightly better-looking small pool.

Further along, I came to some aspens and firs. I decided to turn around at the junction for the horse camp. I can go back later, start at that junction and hike the part that ends at Shultz Tank.

Little Elden Trail #69
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Dry Lake Hills Loop
This typically easy for me hike was among my most difficult, in the end it was among the most rewarding.

2.9 mi on Rocky Ridge Trail #153
Appropriately named compared to other tails in the area. I'd imagine some mountain bikers enjoy the course as the rocks have a firm hold making it more fun than irritating.

left 0.25 mi on Oldham Trail #1

left 3.5 mi on Brookbank Trail #2
Immediately climbs up into the Dry Lake Hills. The only good ascent picking up 700 ft in 1.25 mi. Lots of courteous mountain bikers passed by announcing their presence and the number remaining in their group.

right 0.35 mi on Sunset Trail #23 - Flagstaff
Pines thinned for this short 200 ft descent. Passed several runners throughout the day. Two chicks at the top of this trail got our attention minutes after passing. We realized how impressive their pace was considering they just topped out a 200 ft ascent.

left 3.55 mi for the entire Little Bear Trail #112
Dense pines returned. Then they thin before what looks like a monster descent. Views of NE Flagstaff are scenic, especially now with fields of yellow wildflowers.

I deemed this trail the "find" of the day 1.55 mi in, the next 3 miles slapped back hard. The monster descent joke was on us. This trail drops 1,118 feet in the subtle fashion. There was no quick drop. The grade is steady throughout. Most will enjoy, the dragged out switchbacks were just wearing on me.

Anyone that has hiked with me knows I can whine like no other. This slow down grade just wasn't pumping blood thus amplifying every ache along with lack of sleep. B & D absorbed more of my nonsense than any human should fall victim.

left 4.9 mi on Little Elden Trail #69
Bruce thought this would be a 500 ft ascent to Schultz Tank. It turned out to be a ridiculously subtle 350 ft. In all fairness these trails are designed for mountain bikers and ascending period was better than slow descending.

I mentioned earlier our friendly mountain bikers would give way to afternoon riders. Less announced their approach, none notified group number remaining and their speed was blazing at times. No issues, we're friendly aware hikers. Just pointing out morning nets better results in my experiences when hiking popular mountain bike areas.

continue 4.2 mi / -920 ft for the entire Schultz Creek Trail #152
This is a cool trail weaving next to the dry creek and nearby road. Pines provide shade throughout.

Bruce knew I needed an easy course. As much as it dragged out and amplified various pains the net result was monumental. After the hike my left fist which had been clenching for months is now sometimes at ease. I can move my fingers outward for the first time. Albeit ever so slow, this new hope is a lot to take in. Huge thanks to B & D for putting up with the world's biggest baby. They monitor me, the footing, among other tasks helping me sit, stand and the constant struggle with my pack.

One improvement on hydration was a success. I have an idea that should put pack stress to rest and we believe a little change in nutrition will make it easier too.

Substantial in areas with an excellent variety. Extreme fields of yellow looking down at NE Flagstaff.
Little Elden Trail #69
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Dry Lake Hills Loop
Up to the High country to enjoy the Temps.
53 degrees to start, mid 70's most of the day, hitting the low 80's in the exposed sections

Along the Rocky Ridge #153 trail there has been a lot of thinning going on. This trail roller coasters up to the Lower Oldham Trail, that we were on for just a stones throw.

Brookbank #2 climbs to the NW, affording good views of Mt Elden. Once you get up around peak 8747, the views open up to "The Peaks". On the Sunset #23 Trail for a snippet of time, we made our way over to the Little Bear #112.

This was my first time on Little Bear #112 and it had some big pluses and minuses. It goes through the old burn area, so you loose the trees. For me at the top, this was actually a plus. The views are huge as the trail follows on the side of the mountain. There of signs of reforestation, with scads of cone protected, 18" tall pine saplings planted everywhere. This trail drops almost 900', taking more than 3.5 miles, through exhausting switchbacks. I say exhausting, because the JBM was in full force once again.

The Little Elden Trail #69 / AZT, is a pleasant trail making its way up to Schultz Tank and the Sunset TH. We passed Thelma and Louise on Horseback.

The Schultz Creek #152 Trail is a gentle downward grade, in the pines, taking us back to the truck. We saw 5+ elk on the way down.

I couldn't count the number of mountain bikers we saw on this hike. They were out in full Fource...

The phrase that pays, two weeks in a row.
"What I meant to say was, Thanks"

Did we have a good time,
There's no Talon.

Substantial in pockets. there was a cornucopia of color.
Little Elden Trail #69
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On our drive up we observed the results of the New River flooding. Certainly devastating with washes and the creek bed scoured and widened. It was dramatic! Oh, and we hit traffic delays coming and going on I-17.

Another double AZT weekend starting out with Segment 32 from Schultz to the I-40 and then Segment 31 from Sandy to I-40. The nite before we (Ambika and me) drove around FR 301 the nite before trying to find a camp spot and discovering there is NO CAMPING here :( . In the dark we met up with Tracy and Shawn at Country Club Dr and headed to dispersed camping off of Old Walnut Canyon Rd. Shawn found us a nice spot on the second try. Kathy and Karl joined us a little while later. They all slept in their vehicles, I practiced my tent camping ;)

We took Karl and Kathy's vehicle to Schultz TH and they took Ambika's to I-40 TH. We parked next to a vehicle with Montana plates. They were from Helena and were heading up to Fremont. One of the fellows knew of Bob as I had mentioned HIKEARIZONA.COM and he said, tell BobP "Geronimo".

It was a nice morning as we headed off (9:00) past Schultz Tank and into the forest. There would be lots of wildflowers on this trek and they started right away. We hit Mullein Alley and were amazed at their height. The Little Elden Trail was recently opened and it looked like they did a great job with renovating this trail. We continued winding our way around the north side of Little Elden where you could see a lot of the burn area. To its north on another mountainside you could see the additional burn area quite clearly. But as we got to the northeast side, you could see the area that wasn't burned.

Along the eastside we came across this most incredible area that was covered in wildflowers, in particular, brilliant orange paintbrush. It was like a mini-Glacier Park floral display. It was really quite something :y: . Enroute to the south side of Little Elden, we climbed a bit of a hill, saw some deer in the distance, noticed the large cliff rose bushes and trees against the back drop of Little Elden's cliff face before arriving at our break (11:11) in what I call the Elden Valley. The Valley was lush as well with the beautiful green grasses and smatterings of wildflowers.

We reached the intersection with the Heart (a fun but take your breath away trail up to the Elden ridgeline - Ambika and I did that last year) and then with Sandy Seep 11:35 (a trail we also did last year). Once again this Sandy Seep trail delivered in the wildflower department though different this time. Along the way we also saw a bunch of acorn woodpeckers chasing a squirrel :o from apparently THEIR tree. They all made quite a ruckus as the squirrel ran over to the tree next door. It was very entertaining once we figured out what was going on.

We didn't know when we would encounter K&K coming up from the south. It ended up being around noon so we found a large shade tree to sit under. We talked about what they had hiked and told them the best part of their hike was yet to come. We only lunched for about 20 minutes as we still had 8 miles to go I think, they only had 6. It was fun though.

We enjoyed our views of Mount Elden and some of the sunflowers along the way as we headed toward the 89 tunnel. I kept expecting the trail to take us down to the light to cross but we paralleled the highway until we hung a left and headed into the tunnel (12:45). Somewhere later from here we apparently entered Picture Canyon and were on some sort of City Loop for this portion of the hike. We were already looking forward to our next little break at Rio de Flag (1:30); altho we ended up breaking longer just because the area was so cool with the creek and all. Tracy experimented with her new waterproof camera (they are all going on a GC rafting trip toward the end of the month; and leaving me behind :( ).

We continued thru Picture Canyon and past the quarry area which was kind of interesting. There was some equipment there including what looked to be conveyor belt thingies. Along the way toward the NE was an incredible field of yellow flowers that really stood out. We reached a road around 2 and walked it just a bit before going thru a most interesting gate into a very colorful area with flowers and rocks and deceased trees.

As you round a couple corners there is this incredible field of flowers spread out before you. It was such a surprise. I do think it's planted. Here Ambika and I looked back to capture the field with the mountains. Ambika got a really good picture here. We took our time walking thru this. I hope my movies will do it justice. And then you come back into the forest area that sits above a meadow that had a gazillion sunflowers just on this side of the tracks.

Around 3 I requested a 5 minute break in the next shade. Well Tracy picked a great spot as we had a nice view of the tracks and got to see 2 or 3 trains pass. However, it must have been on a curve as wow was it screechy at times as the train rolled by. I don't know, there's just something 8) about watching trains... Our 5 minutes turned into 20.

It was time now to finish off this last bit. We were toodling along pretty good observing some of the trash along the way and of course the view to the distant very red mountain to the east. Shawn all of a sudden decided we were off trail and as we headed back the way we had come, he said it would be shorter to cross country and would we be ok with that? No one even hesitated. So we crossed over to the correct route based on Shawn's GPS track. I didn't load the track on ScoutII this time but next time I will as a back up.

We walked on the road next to the track for awhile until we got to Tip Tank (4:05) and saw the sign for the Trail, in retrospect the Trail we should have stayed on :doh: . This trail had been re-routed from the old track Shawn had. Well now we know and now you know. If you're hiking it north, it wouldn't be a problem at all. Getting weary now, we know we should have about a mile left. We pressed on and eventually reached the tunnels of the I-40. We were lucky that a train was just rounding the corner and heading our way. I got some good pics and video. I wanted to cross under so I could see how loud it was as the train went over; but it wasn't very loud at all.

As we made our way to the next tunnel I could hear a big rumble which probably meant another train. I turned and by gosh, here comes a train from the west. So we got to watch two trains passing over the underpass. Finally we go under the frontage road to Ambika's vehicle (4:34). (refurbished ScoutII, or should it be Scout the Third now?, is only off by .15 miles or so now in the last three hikes). After a beverage we headed to Country Club Dr to pick up some ice and then headed back to camp where Kathy made some delish Chicken Nachos, Ambika prepared a mighty fine Italian dinner and Tracy put together a great salad with some really garlicy (?) toasted bread. :y: .

The night before you could hear the trains but tonite, no trains; just the wind that woke me around 2AM. In the later AM it was the crying baby and the cattle and the vehicle noise of someone driving around at 5:30AM. SHEESH! But at least it was warmer.

PS Oh, I have lots of video of course and they're actually ready to go. Just need to finish uploading to youtube. My computer was not cooperating last nite so there is a delay.
September 11, 2014 here are the videos:
[ youtube video ] to below Little Elden
[ youtube video ] to just past 89 underpass
[ youtube video ] into the field of flowers
[ youtube video ] finishing off the trail including watching the trains
Little Elden Trail #69
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I parked at the Sandy Seep TH and took the Sandy Seep to the Heart trail then to Sunset trail. The views were great on the Sunset trail. I headed north towards Schultz tank. By the Little Bear intersection there were a bunch of forest crews cleaning up their chainsaws. It looked they were getting ready to do some trail maintenance. There was on a sign on the Little Bear trail post saying that it was closed until 8/31 for trail cleanup.

I got down to the Schulz's Pass TH and took the new AZT section. This section of the AZT is more or less flat without any rocks, trees or roots. It's very popular with the mountain bikers. It started to rain. It was a slow rain that felt good. The trail never got sticky or slick. After 7.5 miles from Schultz's TH, the AZT crosses Snow Bowl road. Now the AZT starts to climb up and up. There's a quarter mile section here that's been flagged, but not cut. After I got past that, there was a post stating that the trail was under construction and it was a dead end! I made it to the Aspen Loop and headed toward the Kachina trail and took lunch. I'm not a fan of the Kachina trail with all the rocks and roots and especially with it being wet. I saw hiker driving out and had an idea. I asked him for a ride down Snow bowl road to where the AZT crosses it. The AZT trail is a bit longer than the Kachina, but it's pretty flat and open and I knew I could sustain a faster pace on it. Now the rain stopped and the sun came out.

I subtracted the 5.1 miles from my trip log. I zipped back to Schultz's pass and then to the Sandy Seep TH. On the way back the wind started to blow and the temps dropped.
Little Elden Trail #69
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Our quest to complete the Arizona Trail took the clan up to Passage 32, The Mt Elden portion starting at I40 and finishing at the Sunset TH on Shultz Pass.
I noticed the thermometer in my truck signaled "Ice" at 35 degrees at the north TH to pick up Dave, so I was ready for it to be cold. It was the warmest 35 degrees I've ever felt. By the time we got down to the I-40 starting point, temps were in the high 40's and it was perfect for shorts and short sleeves.

Joe and Denny have already covered most of the description of this hike, but I'd like to add the phrase "Pleasantly surprised". Nothing to exciting, but pretty country none the less.

Here's the videographers compilation for the day, including his new hit song that will surely me moving up the charts.

Three areas to watch out for in navigating.
- First, the area by Tip Tank is confusingly marked. Go up the hill, do not follow the dirt road. They end up at the same place though.

- Second, Once you cross the bridge at Rio de Flag, follow the markers to the left. I think it switchbacks up a slight hill. The marked trail that goes straight off the bridge also gets you to the same place. In this area it appears the passage has been routed off roads and on to trails.

- Third, when you approach Shultz Tank from the east, marked AZT takes you North to the Weatherford TH. Take the fork to the left to get to Shultz Pass - Sunset TH.

Another great day with the cast of social misfits.

9 passages and 176 miles down.
Little Elden Trail #69
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Running on practically no sleep this one turned out a little better than anticipated. You start off going through 4 tunnels to get under the access road, the highway and train track. We were delightfully surprised to find ourselves in pines quicker than anticipated. Three trains tag teamed up the hill, with the last one going faster than the first two. The trail in places consisted of a lot of cinder. Naturally I was voted to create a song and did so for the sake of the morale of the group.

The only water source we passed mid section was Tip Tank? and it was beyond nasty. The section that crosses the 89A is more trashed than the first two miles down by the Mexico border. We passed two homeless huts in this section too. Apparently Jim_H has been supplying them with care packages on a weekly basis. Most of which appears to be Bud Light tall boys.

Heading up and around the cinder hills it gets quiet and more peaceful even though houses are nearby. Up and around Little Elden was cool and then sad as we entered the charred remains of the recent fire. It burned scorching hot in areas. In some areas the crowns survived. In the surviving areas I really began to regret having not visited this are pre-fire.

We came across a couple sections of aspens. The later section was showing serious signs of Autumn :) Lupines with beans, ferns and such are very healthy in the burned areas.

The hike was okay, the company was excellent.

BTW... the signs on this section are rather messed up. Trail signs are misleading in several areas. New sections have been created (witnessed this at least twice) without taking down the old signs. I'm a pretty easy going guy and pick one and go yet I can see others pulling their hair out on this bad boy.
Little Elden Trail #69
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Little Elden Trail #69 – Schultz Tank to Elden Spring Rd (FR556) TH segment

Lynn, Skippy, and I went up to Flagstaff to visit Hannah and Pauli for Thanksgiving weekend. Original plan was to hike Colton Crater , but with heavy snow clouds visible on the northern half of the San Francisco Peaks, made a quick executive decision to head over to Schultz Pass.

Hiked a segment of the Arizona Trail that includes the Little Elden Trail #69. See our GPS route

Perfect weather as we hiked down from Schultz Tank to the Elden Spring Rd. TH near Horsecamp. Intermittent snow falling on the hike back to the Weatherford TH parking lot to collect our ride. Nice snow fall on the way back from Schultz Pass to dinner at Diablo Burger in Flagstaff...
Little Elden Trail #69
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Went back out with my local friend to do the mirror image loop of Wednesdays hike. Today we did a Sunset-Little Bear- Little Elden Springs loop. It was really nice again, and the weather stayed dry for one more day. It really is a shame the FS never did any burns in the area, or any follow up burns from the one they did 3 decades ago that prompted them to post 2 signs talking about prescribed fire and how they planned to conduct more in the area. There are lots of large old trees over dense grass for a good part of the hike. Now, because they haven't burned in 30 years and the wet conditions of the 1980s, there are tons of young trees filling in lots of the open space. With out management this area will eventually look just like the crappy forests that are everywhere else around here: dense dogs hair thickets with dead and dying old growth trees. Its not uniformly bad, and there are still nice open areas, but there are plenty of areas that are headed down the path, especially along the Little Elden.

Permit $$

Map Drive

To hike
Drive 5 miles northeast of Flagstaff on US 89. Turn west (left) on FR 556 and drive 2 miles to Little Elden trailhead located on the north (right) side of the road. Equestrian can park at the Sunset Trailhead or the trailhead just west of the Little Elden Springs horse camp on FR 556.

The trail may also be accessed from Schultz Tank or via the Sandy Seep Trail.
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